Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Turkey Teaches Israel a Lesson

There is a problem in world diplomacy which has ramifications for Israel.

One of the allies of the United States and other countries has been attacked over the years by an underground which has employed not only traditional national liberation tactics but also terror against civilians. This undergound is based just across the ally's border. This underground movement has centuries-long claims on portions of the ally's territory.

If you were thinking that perhaps this ally I have been describing is Israel - you're wrong.

I'm talking about Turkey and its Kurdish problem which of late has been an increasingly pressing issue.

Turkey has been suffering attacks, characterized by terror as well as traditional guerrilla tactics, from a Kurdish group making territorial demands for the establishment of their national homeland. Israel has been in a parallel situation for many decades.

The United States, Great Britain and many other countries have pressured Israel over the years to make concessions to the Arabs who term themselves "Palestinians", most notably territorial retreat. Indeed, since 1922, the pre-state Zionist Movement and later, the state of Israel, have consistently been forced to agree to a partition of its national homeland.

Turkey has not been similarly pressured.

Why can't Turkey be similarly pressured?

Is it because Israel's withdrawals have been an abject failure? If so, why must Israel continue to concede but Turkey not?

Israel, it appears, is always forced into the "territories for peace" paradigm. But not Turkey. Turkey is not being forced, gently or otherwise, to yield up portions of what it considers its territory to placate the pesh merga of the PKK, or the resistance fighters, operating out of the Qandil mountains on the border between Turkey and Iraq.

Indeed, the shoe is perhaps on the other foot in that Iraq is beginning to pressured to grant further autonomy to the mostly autonomous Kurdish region establsihed in 1991.

The so-called Palestine Authority has been semi-autonomous since 1993 and it also has been promoting terror attacks against of American ally - Israel. But Israel, unlike Turkey, is caught in the vise of "yield-surrender-withdraw". Specious historical, legal and religious claims of the Arabs are taken at face value but the Kurds are portrayed in the most negative light.

I myself have to real knowledge as regards the justice of the Kurdish cause (although Israel was a special supporter of the Kurds in the early 1960s on onwards). But, nevertheless, I think a lesson can be learned. Turkey is an ally not because it is the most democratic country in the Middle East nor the richest. But it is strategic. America needs its bases and especially its airfields. And it does not want Turkey to stage border-crossing raids into Iraq to root out the PKK.

And still, partition is not a threat to Turkey unlike how it hangs like a sword over Israel's vulnerable neck.

There's a lesson here. But who will learn?

1 comment:

Soccer Dad said...

NY Times editorial

See they wanted Ocalan to become a peacemaker just like Arafat!